Senators in both parties want drug-settlement ban out of approps bill

But generic drug makers say restricting the settlements would make challenging patents financially prohibitive because the brand-name companies prevail in court more than half the time.

Five Democrats from districts with a large drug industry presence say the inclusion of the so-called "pay-for-delay" ban is an antitrust matter that's outside the purview of the Appropriations Committee.

The senators have "substantive concerns with the content of these provisions" that "can only be properly resolved through the regular order in the Senate," they wrote in a letter sent Thursday to Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE (D-Nev.) and Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

The inclusion of the provision in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill "contradicts both the spirit and the letter of the Senate rules," the letter said. It was signed by Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseySenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Senate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump Trump's 's---hole' remark sparks bipartisan backlash MORE of Pennsylvania, Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate Finance Dems want more transparency on trade from Trump Overnight Energy: California regulators vote to close nuclear plant | Watchdog expands Pruitt travel probe | Washington state seeks exemption from offshore drilling plan Overnight Regulation: Fight erupts over gun export rules | WH meets advocates on prison reform | Officials move to allow Medicaid work requirements | New IRS guidance on taxes MORE (Del.) and Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganPolitics is purple in North Carolina Democrats can win North Carolina just like Jimmy Carter did in 1976 North Carolina will be a big battleground state in 2020 MORE (N.C.).

The Democrats' letter follows a similar missive from four Senate Republicans last month.

"We believe that the reported bill gives excessive power over such settlements to the FTC — a power that the FTC has shown itself in the past to be unable to exercise in a responsible or economically rational manner — and that the bill would do serious violence to the Hatch-Waxman process for the market entry of generic drugs," the Republican senators write in a Sept. 17 letter to Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) and Appropriations Committee ranking member Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTrump's chief agricultural negotiator will fight for American farmers Rep. Cummings hospitalized, wife suspends gubernatorial campaign Medical cannabis community must join together and resist any action taken against us MORE (R-Miss.).

The pay-for-delay provision cleared the Judiciary Committee a year ago but did not survive the health-reform negotiations. After it was added to the appropriations bill it barely survived a challenge from Specter (by a vote of 15-15) in July.

The Senate version is co-sponsored by Sens. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Five hurdles to a big DACA and border deal Grand jury indicts Maryland executive in Uranium One deal: report MORE (R-Iowa). The House passed the companion version as part of its Supplemental Appropriations Act in March.